More Blogging Questions Than Answers!
My sharp-eyed readers will have spotted that there's a question mark at the end of my title this week, because I'm really hoping for feedback from everyone.
Have you ever evaluated the time you spend on your blog vs your financial return?
That's assuming you're planning for your blogging to be an income stream, rather than a hobby.
Blogging Is More Than Writing Posts
Well you don't have to be in blogging for more than a few weeks to realize that the dream of putting out “good quality content” and waiting for visitors to “come and buy” is just that – a dream.
Perhaps it DID happen in the past, but not in all the time I've been blogging.
For me, coming up with the blog post is the easy, and most enjoyable part of the exercise. Then you come up against the tough part….
Promoting Your Blog
There are so many of ways of promoting your blog that I won't pretend this is an exhaustive list. (Haha – I just typed exhausting list, and had to go back and correct it…. but perhaps I should have left it as it was.)
Here are some of the methods I personally have used:
- Posting articles daily, which left me no time to promote
- Various forms of free and paid advertising
- SEO – I haven't really worked very hard on this, left it to the excellent Yoast SEO plugin
- Visiting local networking groups – very new to me, so too early to judge
- Building a “list” by offering a free report and contacting them about relevant posts
- Building backlinks – not scientifically, just hoping they were being made by the other activities
- Interacting on social media, working within a community of friends
- Building a blog commenting community
Results From Blog Promoting Activities
Without quantifying it in detail, the results gained have been more or less in the order of the list above.
Daily posting and no promoting probably gave me zero actual results, but it was a good way to establish a base of content and give me some posts to link back to – although because it left me so short of time, when I look back, some of the content is better forgotten!
Building a blog community has been the most rewarding activity. In a nutshell, here's what I have gained:
- Interacting regularly with people I now genuinely feel are my friends, whereas before I looked on them as competitors
- Boy, have I learned a lot from them – both technically and in terms of writing style
- Contacts for blog content and joint ventures – they have promoted my products and I have reviewed and promoted theirs
- Some people have been kind enough to buy some of the products I have reviewed and recommended
Given that I'm producing this blog as a way to supplement the income from my offline business, how is all this activity working out as a return on investment?
Results Of Blog Promoting Activities
Paid blog promotion activities: I don't spent much on paid promotions – perhaps I should, but my results from any advertising (offline and online) have always been dire, so I tend to spend money instead on training and tools to improve my blog and knowledge.
“Free” blog promotion activities: I'm starting to see results, but for the hours I put into these activities it's not a good return on time spent! Nothing is ever free – you either pay for it with time or money.
Time spent can never be replaced; money (hopefully) can. But for most of us, it's not a great idea to fritter either of them away.
As is usual for me, I'm still feeling I have too many non-productive balls in the air.
Conclusions I've Drawn
I've been spending time on many of the above “free” activities, trusting that they were “doing me good in the long-term” by improving my performance and knowledge:
- In the eyes of the blogging community (close to home)
- In the world at large (courtesy of Google) to find me new customers.
I'd like think the former has been achieved in small measure, although I completely realize I have a way to go still.
It's blindingly obvious I can never be a blogger of the technical caliber of (say) Enstine – and it's not what I would want to do either. And I don't want to duplicate the excellent “best of…” lists that other people do so well. So where to go from here?
The problem is, I've never quite decided what my “niche” actually IS. “Helping small businesses learn about blogging”, is the closest I've ever got to it – which I freely admit is far too vague.
But to turn my online business into the “pension supplementing activity” I need it to be – rather than “Mum's online hobby that keeps her getting up every day”, I have to see more income – is the blunt truth. Although some of the services I offer have a repeat income element I can't just keep expecting my loyal readers and friends to “buy, buy”. It's not in my nature at all!
The eye-opener came from a post by Enstine Muki, talking about a Monitor Backlinks service he uses. I'm not going to pretend to explain the service to you, because he does a far better job than I ever could – and even better, he's negotiated a brilliant discount for anyone who subscribes after their trial. So when you've finished here, do read Enstine's post.
So, I took the trial, and I have to say I was bitterly disappointed. NOT with the service because it's brilliant. Anything Enstine recommends can be trusted. But I was gutted to see what all my hours had achieved. Largely a bunch of “No Follow” links.
No… don't ask me about NOFOLLOW and DOFOLLOW. Enstine will tell you about DoFollow links here.
Thanks, of course, to those of my kind community who ARE supporting me with DOFOLLOW links – and on social networks too. Until now, I've not taken any notice of this – because, as I said before, I get many other benefits from blog hopping. However, it does explain why more isn't happening for me.
Learning From This Knowledge
I'm definitely not saying I shall stop commenting on my friends' blogs, but I shall be taking a lot more notice of the time spent vs the rewards gained. If I'm understanding it correctly, Enstine's posts suggest better places to spend my – already very limited – time.
I've felt that some of the bloggers far more experienced than I am have been questioning their results lately, and looking to make other plans. I won't name them in case I've misread the signals. But I see them posting and commenting less often than (say) a year ago.
Update October 2019: I have more or less stopped commenting now because the results I got were poor, and I'm almost discouraging comments because most of them are spam.
Of course, there are those who have developed their own services and are doing very well from them. Some of their products have, and still are, generating very welcome commissions for me. You can check them out on my Tools page.
Not A Sudden Decision….
This has been something I've been thinking about for a while, especially as my time has been so much taken up with other non-blogging matters. It's been hard to keep up with all the posting and commenting, enjoyable as it has been, but I just trusted it was moving in the right direction. Now it seems it probably isn't – or not as fast as it should be, given the time invested!
I'm grateful to Enstine for showing me objective reasons (see the service he recommended above) to support what I was feeling – and for also suggesting ways to improve on what I've been doing.
On top of everything else I have been increasingly frustrated by “technical problems”… hackers, hosting outages, mysterious glitches. It will be wonderful to have someone else look after those, because they're such an unproductive drain!
Over To You?
Have you found better strategies to make the most of your time blogging? What do YOU feel is the best return on your time spent? I'd love to hear from you.